Local artists and art supporters recognized

Six local artists and art supporters recently received awards from the Duluth Depot Foundation. On Oct. 26, the foundation hosted its annual Circle of Friends Arts and Culture celebration. The recipients were Adam Sippola, Jim Perlman, Doug Steve...

Depot Foundation Art and Culture award recipients: (from left to right) Adam Sippola, Anne Dugan, Doug Stevens, Jim Perlman, Ronald Kari and Helena Jackson.


Six local artists and art supporters recently received awards from the Duluth Depot Foundation. On Oct. 26, the foundation hosted its annual Circle of Friends Arts and Culture celebration. The recipients were Adam Sippola, Jim Perlman, Doug Stevens, Anne Dugan, Ronald Kari and Helena Jackson.

"Someone earlier told me, 'It must be very hard to be on the selection committee to chose the recipients every year.' And it is. We have far more nominations of deserving people for these awards than we can give. We could probably go until 2116 before we run out of names," said Rob Hoffman, chair of the arts and culture awards committee and vice chair of the Depot Foundation Board of Directors.

Adam Sippola

Adam Sippola received the Artist award for his work as an actor, singer, director and musician in the Duluth arts community. Sippola is well known for his performances at the Playhouse, ranging from Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" to the titular role in "Jesus Christ Superstar." He founded the Zenith City Cabaret and is a member of two bands, Cold Current and Hidden Roots.


"I appreciate the recognition. It's not why we do art, but it is nice to receive that. It's exciting to be part of the arts community here in Duluth at this juncture and I think there are lot of exciting times ahead for the music, theater, and visual arts scene," Sippola said.

Jim Perlman

Founder of Holy Cow! Press, Jim Perlman received the Community Enrichment award for his 40 years of work as a small press publisher. Perlman grew up in Southwestern Minneapolis with a love for writing and poetry. He took that love for poetry to every school he attended, establishing or contributing to a literary journal at each one. Since it was established in 1977, Holy Cow! Press Has published 125 books of poetry, short fiction, novels, memoirs, young children's' books and anthologies.

"To be a small-press publisher, to become untethered by the profit motive, means that one lives a life of relative risk, both creatively and financially. I often say to the authors I publish, please join me on the cliff as we leap into the unknown," Perlman said. "To read and hear all the voices of people speaking their truth, that has been the greatest reward."

Doug Stevens

Doug Stevens received an award for Historic Preservation and Interpretation for his work with the Duluth Preservation Alliance and especially for his work preserving the history of and enthusiasm for Skyline Parkway. Stevens developed a passion for preservation through his house-cleaning business when he was referred to client in an historic house in the Congdon area.

"I'd never seen a house this big, I'd never seen such gorgeous woodwork and ceilings. I thought, how can I see more of these houses? That's how I got involved in the Duluth Preservation Alliance," Stevens said.

Stevens has also be integral in maintaining and preserving the history of Skyline Parkway. He recently organized a celebration for the 125th anniversary of the scenic drive.


Anne Dugan

Anne Dugan received the Initiative award for her with with the Duluth Art Institute. Dugan has served as the director since 2010. In that time, she has strived for artistic collaboration with the community by working with groups such as the American Indian Community Housing Organization, Prøve Collective and Men as Peacemakers to engage the community in dialogue through visual mediums. She also has a passion for regional art.

"We really accept the term regional when it's applied to the food system. We all buy local food. But for some reason, this term regional, when it's applied to arts and culture, it's sometimes patronizing," Dugan said. "It's become my mission to reclaim that word and recognize that we don't want to cede our power. We need to be able to tell our own stories."

Ronald Kari

Receiving the Lifetime Artist award, Ronald Kari was quick to point out that he wasn't finished yet.

"I wanted to share a silly paraphrase of Mark Twain, that any rumors of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated," Kari said.

Kari has played with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra for 55 years.

"I guess you could say that when I start something, I stick with it," Kari said.


Kari started playing with the orchestra's Pops Concerts in Wade Stadium at age 15. He became the coordinator of the DSSO Youth Orchestra in 1989, a position he continues to fill to this day. He has given private lessons, played with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra as well as being a charter member of the Highland String Quartet. At this time, he has no plans to retire.

"What an amazing award. I never expected to receive this, ever. Even after 70 years, which I'm hoping will happen, we'll see," Kari said.

Helena Jackson

Helena Jackson received the Lifetime Achievement award not for her own personal artistic contributions, but for facilitating the creation of artwork by serving on several artistic boards for nearly 30 years. Jackson has served as the president of the DSSO, as well as on the boards for the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Duluth Art Institute and the Duluth Children's Museum.

"Civilizations are remembered for their contributions to the arts and to culture. I hope I've been able to help contribute to that creation in my small way," Jackson said.

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